< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Jesus Walks on Water

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Jesus Walks on Water

Mark 6:45-52 45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.

47 Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48 He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified.

Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.

The world today tears Jesus down. As Christians we need to have a right view of who He is and fight to show others a high view of Him. If God is just like us, how can He save us?

In this section neither the disciples nor the crowd appreciated who Jesus really was. Jesus had a different plan from both the crowd and the disciples. In John 6:14-15 (Right after John’s account of the feeding of the 5000) we see that the crowd wants to make Him king. If He could keep them fed, they figured they could get out from under Roman rule. The disciples wanted Him to be made king too, because if He rose in power they figured they’d move up with Him.

So Jesus separates the disciples from the crowd. He makes them get in the boat and sends them off and then sends the crowds home. Then He goes up the mountain to pray for most of the night.

One thing we need to remember about when Jesus prays: He is an interceder. He prays for US! All the time! Read John 17 sometime realizing that is one of His prayers for us!

Jesus sent His disciples out on the Sea of Galilee at night. The fishermen in the group knew you don’t do that because it was common for fierce storms to come up at night. But Jesus wanted them to learn something. And He gave them a great miracle to do it.

It was pitch black, yet Jesus saw them straining at the oars. He knew of their fear. And He went to them. He sees our fear and distress too. He knows what we are going through. Where it says in verse 48 “He was about to pass them by”, means that He came along side of them so they could all see Him. And they did all see the miracle.

John 6:21 tells us that when Jesus stepped into the boat they were immediately where they were going. He could have gotten them there without walking on the water. But this showed them something. First they were terrified thinking He was a ghost: they still didn’t know who He was. But then Jesus said “Take courage.” Take courage is in the New Testament eight times and every time it’s Jesus saying it because He is who gives us courage.

Then He says, “It is I.” This was the Greek equivalent for the name of God in the Old Testament: Yahweh. He was telling them that Yahweh was there!
Jews were afraid of oceans and seas.

Job 9:8 He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.

Psalms 77:19 Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.

Habakkuk 3:15 You trampled the sea with your horses, churning the great waters.

God has majestic power over the water. Who else can calm the sea that He made?

When God came to them in their hour of need and in this way it was a changing point for them. It clicked. All the other miracles they had seen were for other people. This was for them in their own desperate need.
Matthew 14:33 says they worshipped Him saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” To know something about God, if you don’t worship, causes hardness of heart. He changed their hearts by putting them into this unusual difficulty so they would need Him and He would meet that need.

A soft heart wants to follow God’s plan and worship Him.

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